'Snow White', 'Sleeping Beauty' describe sexual assault on unconscious person, professor says

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Snow White in the trailer of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) Wikimedia Commons

Not just one but two of Disney’s fairytale princes are sexual predators, a Japanese gender studies and sociology professor argues. Princes from “Sleeping Beauty” and “Snow White” were said to portray “quasi-compulsive obscene sexual acts on an unconscious partner.”

Many kids and even grown-ups have seen “Sleeping Beauty” and “Snow White” in a movie, play or books. The princesses fell into a deep sleep because of a cursed pinprick and an apple. They were awakened after a true love’s kiss from a prince.

While it may sound romantic to many, a feminist academic activist suggests that such fairytale stories allow and promote sexual violence. It describes sexual assault on an unconscious person. This was the argument brought by Osaka University professor Kazue Muta before 2017 ended. Muta is also the author of a book titled “Sir, That Love is Sexual Harassment!” which specifically deals with sexual harassment in the workplace.

The professor suggested that she did not intend to ruin anyone’s fantasy. But she was specifically concerned about a woman being woken up by a kiss.

Muta shared her thoughts publicly about the Disney princes in early December. She linked them to a real-life story that caught her attention: when a man kissed a woman sleeping while on a train en route to Osaka.

“When you think rationally about 'Snow White' and 'Sleeping Beauty,' that tell of a princess being woken up by the kiss of a prince, they are describing the sexual assault on an unconscious person,” Muta said, according to Fox News. She believes that these stories promote sexual violence, something that she wants everyone else to be aware of.

Her comment drew various reactions. The comments following an article published by Fox News are a polarized mix. “Just when I thought things couldn’t get more stupid comes this nonsense,” one commenter wrote.

In the Disney version of “Sleeping Beauty,” the fairies led the prince to kiss Princess Aurora with the belief that a true love’s kiss can wake her up from the napping curse. SoraNews24 pointed out in Japan Today that such move was “not motivated by his own pervy will.”

As for “Snow White,” a prior relationship between the prince and Snow White was established in which they felt love at first sight. The main female protagonist had eaten a cursed apple and was saved from “sleeping death” after she was kissed by a prince.

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